Amazon Echo Plus And Echo Dot (2018) Review: Very thoughtful upgrades to Echo Devices


Recently, Amazon introduced a new line-up of Echo devices, and an Echo companion device, making it even easier to bring the features and convenience of Alexa to any room in the home. The new iteration to the Echo family brings devices with a lot of features and value additions to the table. Here is my review of the two latest additions to the Echo family

New Echo and Echo companion devices include:

  • All-New Echo Dot: The easiest way to bring Alexa into your home, now with a new speaker for louder and crisper sound, an updated fabric design, and still only ₹4,499
  • All-New Echo Plus: A simple way to start your smart home with a built-in Zigbee hub, plus an upgraded speaker and a new design, and still only ₹14,999
  • Echo Sub: Add deep, rich bass to music playback on Echo devices for ₹12,999

The next-generation Echo Dot features a new fabric design and more powerful sound—and it is still the best way to add Alexa to any room. With an all-new curved shape and fabric finish, Echo Dot is available in Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone, letting customers easily mix and match. The new Echo Dot plays music louder with richer sound, all in a compact design. Connect to your home theater or favorite speaker via Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio cable for even bigger sound. Put an Echo Dot in every room to ask for information or the weather, play your favorite music in a multi-room music grouping, set timers and alarms, and control compatible smart home devices.

Echo Dot, Sandstone, Front On

Alexa, the brain behind Echo Dot, is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more you use Dot, the more Alexa adapts to your speech patterns and vocabulary. Using Alexa is as simple as asking a question – just ask and Alexa will respond instantly. There are a lot of features and factoids that have been added to Alexa’s skills and knowledge. In India, Alexa is able to recognize, understand and respond to Indian accents and local usage of terms.

All-New Echo Dot—Now with a New Design and More Powerful SoundStill Just ₹4,499

Echo Plus, Sandstone, Front On

With its built-in Zigbee smart home hub, the all-new Echo Plus makes setting up compatible smart home devices easy. Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and Echo Plus will automatically discover and setup compatible lights and plugs without the need for additional hubs or apps. Echo Plus now includes an embedded temperature sensor, so you can set temperature-based routines using other smart home devices. For example, when the living room reaches 32 degree Celsius, Alexa can send a notification to your phone and turn on the AC connected to a smart plug.

Echo Plus has a larger 3” Neodymium woofer and increased back volume so that the bass feels stronger and the mids and highs are clearer. It also features an all-new fabric design and is available in Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone.

All-New Echo Plus—New Design, Upgraded Sound, Built-In Smart Home Hub and More Ways to Control Your Smart Home—Still Just ₹14,999

Echo Plus, Heather Gray, Kitchen

I took both the devices for a whirl and set up a clean multi-room installation at home. The sound quality is definitely a big plus over the last generation devices. The bass and high range output has improved a lot. I was also able to clearly see that even in a crowded and noisy environment, the next gen Echo devices are able to pick the wake word and subsequent commands very easily.

I have a lot of smart lights and plug points at home that I added when I got my first Echo devices. The new devices were able to connect to them easily and without any hitches. I was able to effectively switch to the new devices with zero efforts. Full marks to Amazon on the thoughtful UX design that makes transition simple.

Let us now talk about the sound quality coming from the New Echo Plus that is my primary driver at home.

The new Echo Plus is a good thing if you want your smoothness factor.I was unable to detect any bleed into the mids and no serious problems at all when boosted. You can get a smidgen more, but not much, when EQ’ed. What that means is bass and mids are clearly differentiated and delivered. And for you, it’s like rediscovering your music library again.

If mellow is the genre of sound or music that you enjoy, well, look no further. This is a fantastic headset for kicking back and relaxing with some old school vocals, Big Band genre types and  some good old Sinatra if you get what I mean. Quality is sublime for the price and it amazes me how  Amazon has managed this in such a compact package. Fidelity is great and impressive for this headset in the mid-range, clean and crisp. This headset very definitely gets a massive thumbs up for offering a nicely subdued, calming effect when listening to mid-centered music

So overall, the New Echo devices are not just very smart AI assistants for your home, but also are a decent set of speakers if you are into decent music to unwind. Amazon has delivered very thoughtful upgrades to Echo Devices and kept the price at the same level. I recommend these very highly from my review experience.

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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